SPEE3D announced a 3D print simulation that provides a unique way to market, train and experience the technology.
Australia-based SPEE3D announced a new system called “SPEE3DCraft”, a virtual reality simulator that puts the user into the world of metal 3D printing.
SPEE3D explained the project:
“This April SPEE3D will release SPEE3DCraft , the first end-to-end metal manufacturing simulator. SPEE3DCraft has been designed to provide craftsmen and 3D printing enthusiasts an intuitive virtual experience into real-life metal 3D printing methods using the same tools and equipment developed by SPEE3D.”
Steven Camilleri, SPEE3D’s CTO and Co-Founder, explained how it works:
“It looks like a game. It has level environments. A time challenge. But at the same time, it’s not really a game because this simulator shows what metal 3D printing actually involves. We are hoping this simulator will provide people a helpful insight into SPEE3D’s processes, how they can use it to benefit themselves and their own industry.”
The company will release a freely downloadable version of SPEE3DCraft in a few weeks.
The tool will take the user through all the steps of metal 3D printing, at least those required to use the company’s supersonic 3D printer. Their process is quite different from the standard LPBF approach; they blast tiny metal particles at literally supersonic speed to a target. The particles fuse upon impact, allowing the moving toolhead to quickly build up objects in a variety of metals, including the challenging-to-print copper.
Why produce such an unusual tool? I can think of several very good reasons:
As Camilleri mentioned above, the tool can certainly be used to train future 3D printer operators. I’m not sure it could fully substitute for a proper hands-on training session, but it would absolutely make training sessions a lot more easy by pre-loading information into students’ heads.
After training, the virtual experience can be recalled at any time for someone who hasn’t used the equipment for a time. This virtual experience can bring back the memories of the training and thus more quickly get the individual back in action.
For companies contemplating a purchase of SPEE3D equipment, SPEE3DCraft could be a way for them to quickly and deeply understand the system. More importantly, it can show them the entire, end-to-end experience, which is sometimes lost in the shuffle of frantic purchases. This alone could help increase SPEE3D’s sales rate.
Beyond actual prospects, it’s likely that many other folks will download and try SPEE3DCraft just out of pure curiosity. They’ll have some fun and learn a bit about the system and how it operates. But most importantly, they will then know all about SPEE3D, and they may not have before.
That’s marketing via gaming. Brilliant!
There’s only one other virtual experience of this type that I am aware of, and it’s also from an Australian company, Aurora Labs. We tested their system some time ago, but haven’t heard much since.
This is a very interesting move by SPEE3D, who may very well find it to be successful. It is a relatively low-cost way to get the message out to the public and prospect. If they succeed, we may see similar projects undertaken by other 3D printer manufacturers.